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Yesterday director says The Beatles okaying his film proves they have good senses of humor

Yesterday, a rom-com about a struggling U.K. musician named Jack who gets hit by a bus and wakes up in a world where nobody remembers The Beatles but him, opens Friday.  In the film, Jack, played by Himesh Patel, becomes a superstar by passing off The Beatles' songs as his own -- and the surviving members of the group were totally on board with the concept.

Director Danny Boyle, the man behind Trainspotting, 127 Hours and the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, says it's a testament to the Beatles' sense of humor that they allowed the use of their music in the film.

"When everybody's agreeing to biopics and life stories…as a way of excavating and illustrating the back catalog of great artists, they went for a film that was going to see them eradicated from history and the world's consciousness," Boyle laughs to ABC Radio. "And I think that's very amusing."

After the film was done, Boyle sent it to The Beatles and their wives.  While he doesn't think Paul McCartney has seen it yet, he says he received "very sweet messages" from Ringo Starr and his wife, Barbara, and from Olivia Harrison, George Harrison's widow.

Initially, Boyle admits he was concerned about a credibility gap because he was afraid The Beatles' songs might sound dated. But he soon realized, "They didn't feel like that at all, certainly not in Himesh's hands. They felt like they could be contemporary songs, really."

Boyle's especially excited at the prospect of Yesterday introducing younger people to The Beatles' entire catalog.

"[Most people will] probably know 'Let It Be' and 'Hey Jude,' but there'll be lots of songs that they don't know," Danny says, "and that's wonderful, I think."

The Yesterday soundtrack, featuring Beatles originals and versions by Patel, is out now.


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